Tata and Land Rover are co-developing a compact SUV, likely to be called Defender Sport
Land Rover has been keenly looking at a compact SUV to sit under the Discovery Sport and new reports that have come out hint that the compact SUV could see the light of day as early as 2021.
Sketch of the 2020 Land shown for representation only
Word is that the compact SUV will be based on a new low-cost platform that has been developed by Tata. At this stage, it is all but speculation on what this low-cost platform could be. Is it the Harrier's underpinnings, which in itself is a derivative of the Discovery Sport's platform? We can't rule it out, simply because, during our first outing with the Harrier, the engineers at Tata had told us that the platform is ready to accommodate and implement a small battery-pack, as a plug-in hybrid variant of Harrier/Gravitas was also under consideration when the car was conceived.
In parallel, Land Rover has been developing a hybrid powertrain consisting of a 200PS 1.5-litre Ingenium petrol engine and a 109PS electric rear-axle motor mated to an 11.3kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The first iteration of this powertrain will be seen in the Evoque 1.5 Hybrid due in 2020. The same powertrain in the same or a lower state of tune could provide the motivation for the upcoming compact SUV from Land Rover.
2020 Range Rover Evoque's hybrid powertrain
The big news is that this sub-Discovery Sport SUV is likely to sit within the Defender vertical for Land Rover. That alone could make it a more convincing alternative to the likes of the Volvo XC40 and the BMW X1 that it will rival. Expected to measure between 4.1-4.3m in length, the model will have a boxy silhouette like its big daddy, and the cabin, too, will draw inspiration from it. The compact SUV is internally codenamed L860 and is likely to don the name tag, Defender Sport.
As I mentioned earlier, it is all but speculation at this stage on what platform it will be based on. J-LR is finalising work on its new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) that accommodates all-electric drives, plug-in hybrids and mild-hybrids. However, the architecture is primarily built keeping in mind the next-generation XJ, the new Range Rover line and the future premium electric models that will be made under the Jaguar marque. Therefore, it may not be a logical choice for the inexpensive compact luxury offering that Land Rover is targeting.
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